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Dealers are constantly inundated by trainers vying for their business. These trainers promise exponential success in sales and profits when they do. Many, however, are one-shot wonders in the sense that they come in, perform their training, get your staff pumped up and leave. What happens then? Chances are the lessons or knowledge that they may have learned during that brief period lasts for a week or two and then everyone falls back into their old normal habits and the status quo returns. Why do you think that happens?
Let us look at in-house training. The dealer or general manager goes to their management staff and instructs them to perform training on a regular basis. That training may include materials, or the dealer or general manager may be relying on those individuals to utilize the knowledge and expertise that they have through experience to educate their salespeople. You know what I see happen? Training begins and may continue for a few weeks and then, all of a sudden, everyone that’s supposed to be doing training gets busy and training becomes less of a priority.
Be honest. How many NEW TO THE BUSINESS salespeople in our career have you interviewed, seen promise in and let loose to grab an up after simply showing them how to do a foursquare? Perhaps you were relying on your closers, managers or a TO to a more experienced salesperson. Yes, we all know that busy stores need feel on the floor and, at times, that equates to warm bodies.
Why do you think, however, that our industry has a 70 percent turnover in sales? Were these young prospects that had promise, that you saw talent and ambition in couldn’t cut it? Or perhaps it means that nobody ever taught them how to sell CARS? They may have sales ability but selling cars takes more experience than selling shoes at Nordstrom. While the customer experience skills that you experienced which motivated you to recruit them may exist, selling a $300 pair of shoes is much more difficult than selling a $30,000 car.
Would you hire an inexperienced quick-service technician, throw them a wrench and tell them to go do oil changes? No! Why? Because that would inevitably hurt your service business (not to mention take up shop capacity and other technician’s time while they ask for assistance.)
It’s great when dealerships invest in training. But that training is wasted money if it isn’t organized and structured because it isn’t sustainable. Dealership profitability is predicated in part by a lower turnover rate in sales and that will only happen if salespeople are continuously trained and those skills are not only put into practice and reinforced by management but also consistent.
Continuous training is an integral part of all departments in a dealership. It can easily cost more to replace an employee than it would to train them on a continuous basis. But it’s not only the training that’s important, it’s accountability and reinforcement that management expects. Without that, salespeople simply go through the motions of watching or reading the training materials but either never put those skills into practice or quickly fall back into their old habits – or worse – the green peas never learn anything in the first place or, if they did, are influenced by their more experienced peers into doing things a different way.
Dealerships need to understand that by effectively training their salespeople, reinforcing that training by holding those salespeople accountable for their sales activities and continuing that training on a regular basis will lead to less turnover in the sales department, increased profitability through increased profits and sales volume but, most importantly, will groom their salespeople to thrive, make more money and rather than looking at their position in the dealership as a “job” will become emotionally invested in the dealership which will translate into increased employee engagement as well as a customer experience that is organically better simply because employees are invested and care.
There are many aspects that factor into dealership profitability. Training is one investment that is vital to an increase in profit as long as it is continuous, reinforced and contributes to the dealership’s company culture. Follow this plan and you will prosper.